The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Goodyear: Tire Recall Focuses on Correct Tire Inflation

7 November 2000

Goodyear: Tire Recall Focuses on Correct Tire Inflation
    AKRON, Ohio, Nov. 7 Despite all the recent hoopla about
keeping your tires inflated, new research shows that most drivers are checking
their tire pressures -- without knowing the correct inflation level.
    According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 51 percent of American
drivers check their own tire pressure.  Unfortunately, 48 percent of those
surveyed consult the tire sidewall, which indicates maximum tire pressure.
    Bill Egan, Goodyear chief engineer of advanced product design, said the
correct tire inflation isn't a multiple-choice answer.  "We stress the
importance of proper tire inflation without specifying the correct level,"
Egan said.
    Part of the problem, Egan said, is that the answer varies with application
and the load to be carried.
    Tire inflation to tires is like oil to a vehicle's engine; the correct
inflation determines the tire's load-carrying capacity for optimal tire
deflection, thus maximizing handling, treadwear and ride as well as reducing
rolling resistance and ensuring durability by reducing the stress-strain level
that allows the tire to run cooler, Egan said.
    That makes the specially formulated inner liners engineered into some
tires doubly important for helping tires to hold air.  Unfortunately, not all
tiremakers use 100 percent concentrations of halogenated butyl rubber -- the
best choice for air pressure impermeability -- to help protect the integrity
of a tire's internal components, Egan said.
    The Society of Automotive Engineers reports that 87 percent of all flat
tires have a history of underinflation.  Tires without these special inner
liners can lose twice as much inflation in a year -- up to 15 pounds per
square inch.
    Halogenated butyl rubber, when used, is the most expensive material in a
blackwall tire.  "To omit it or to use it in less than 100 percent
concentrations saves money," Egan said.  "However, as a way to retain air in
your tires, it's a case of being a penny wise, and a pound foolish."
    According to the AAA tire safety survey, few checked for the correct
inflation pressure that related to their specific vehicle, such as by looking
in the owner's manual -- 27 percent -- or at the tire inflation sticker on the
vehicle's door jamb -- 18 percent.
    Most American drivers -- 82 percent -- say their inflation pressure gets
checked regularly, at least once every three months, with 48 percent getting
it checked at least once a month.
    Goodyear recommends that motorists check tire pressure monthly, before a
long trip or when the outside air temperature changes significantly.  If the
car is carrying extra weight, such as luggage on a vacation, additional air
should be added to the tires, preferably 4 psi over the vehicle manufacturer's
recommended cold tire pressure, or that which is specified in the owner's
manual or on the door jamb (not to exceed the maximum on the tire sidewall),
Egan said.
    Among the 51 percent of Americans who check their own tire pressure,
86 percent use their own tire gauge, the AAA study indicated.  The remainder
practice far less reliable methods, such as the 13 percent who use a service
station gauge, the 8 percent who simply look at the tire and the 3 percent who
thump the tire with a tool.
    Barring the use of their own tire pressure gauge, Egan said motorists may
receive a free tire inspection check and free air at their local Goodyear
retailer which can be found by calling 1-800-Goodyear, or by visiting the
company's Web site at .